in coastal regions and in small islands
Coastal region and small island papers 11
‘Mankind must respect the integrity of the living system which is the planet Earth; in a real sense the earth has rights. The rights of humans should not supersede Earth rights, but rather be aligned and in balance with them to ensure the survival, diversity, sustainability and harmony of the planet. The pursuit of profit and the right of man to procreate does not supersede the right of the Earth to remain in biodiversity and free of danger from pollution’.
may be defined as a system of moral principles which define appropriate conduct
for an individual or group; or as the study of moral standards and how they
is the study of ‘the ought’, while both the natural sciences and social
sciences study ‘the is’. However, there are many concepts used in both the
natural and social sciences, which are value-laden.
the scientist suggests a preference for healthy ecosystems and puts forward a
strategy for conservation, ethical concepts have arisen. Conservation is an
overtly value-laden concept, demanding that certain choices be made between
competing uses of the terrestrial, riparian, coastal, aquatic or marine
environment. Once the scientist decides to recommend measures to prevent species
extinction, he has introduced the element of value into the equation and has
become an activist.
very concept of development – the preoccupation of all nations – contains
many imbedded values such as advancement, improvement and progress. The
judgement that democracy is the best form of government because of the role it
gives to citizens is a value judgement. If it is agreed that there are many
ethical statements already in scientific discourse – both natural and social
– and that they enrich the discourse rather than impoverish it, the definition
of the nature of science needs to be modified to openly accommodate this new
the ideas proposed in the ‘Earth Rights Credo’, part
of which is reproduced at the beginning of this chapter, relates back to many
of the concepts discussed in Chapter 4 on Coastal Stewardship,
specifically that mankind has a moral – or ethical – duty to use and manage
the environment wisely, to enhance our existing quality of life and that of
future generations. Many of these ideas are embedded in religions and cultures
around the world. Similar ideas have been discussed in the ‘Wise
Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development’ forum (user name =
csi, password = wise), e.g.:
to us in Papua New Guinea and to other native people of the world means our
identity, culture, uniqueness and heritage. To us, the sea, the air, the birds
and flowers, the trees, fish, reefs, all represent our cosmos and our universe.
We refer to ‘mother earth’ as the provider. We are but temporary tenants who
live off what she provides to sustain ourselves. What remains is for our future
principles are fundamental to wise practices for conflict resolution and
attention should be drawn here to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (December 10, 1948, Paris,
France), which is reproduced in Annex VI.
stakeholder input to management, planning and decision-making is one way to
ensure that wise coastal practices are also ethical. Ways to provide for this
such as Local Area Management Authorities and through wise practice agreements
have already been discussed (Chapter 4).
too rarely do ethical considerations enter into the decision-making process.
Particularly in small islands, economic concerns outweigh other issues; however,
there are exceptions. In Nevis in the 1990s, sand
mining had been identified as a major cause of beach erosion, and was therefore
of concern to the island and its government. In their search for solutions, the
government decided to import sand from a neighbouring island, Barbuda. However,
this action was not undertaken before a team from the Ministry of Housing and
Lands in Nevis, including the Minister and Director of Planning, visited the
sand mining site in Barbuda to ensure that the operation was being done in an
environmentally sensitive manner, and that they were not just transferring their
environmental problem to another island. Unfortunately, such examples are few in
international lobbying effort by certain countries to gain the support of small
islands in voting for the continuation of whaling and against the establishment
of a whale sanctuary in the Pacific Ocean is another area where ethical issues
CODES OF PRACTICE
codes of practice have been drawn up for specific groups and domains. They try
to incorporate a moral dimension and to set out a code of behavioural
are several such models from which to choose. These documents come in several
forms – codes, standards, charters, principles, declarations, policies, and
guidelines, among others. They are usually prepared by organizations (often
non-governmental) when there is no law or no adequate national or international
laws existing to guide people in making particular decisions. They usually
articulate a set of values based on notions of achieving the highest possible
preparing a code of ethics, the following factors need to be taken into
codes should avoid ambiguous statements open to wide interpretation.
the existence of the code should be well known; it will then stand a better
chance of being considered and utilized.
a code of ethics is not a law. However, there should be mechanisms in place
to encourage persons to follow the code. Sanctions appear to be the most
action by the State. The State may wish to pass certain laws that support
the main concerns of the code.
implications: enforcement of the code or the imposition of sanctions could
lead to lawsuits. Options for settlements of disputes should be considered.
Dissemination and education: this is vital in ensuring the efficacy of the code.
AND ANALYSIS OF ETHICAL CODES OF PRACTICE
are many examples of codes of ethics, e.g. codes directed towards nations;
institutions such as museums; and individuals/professionals such as artists, art
dealers, terrestrial and marine archaeologists, historians, architects,
landscape architects, writers, designers and engineers.
such code, about which there is little general awareness, came out of the 1962
Conference, and was entitled ‘The
Safeguarding of the Beauty and Character of Landscapes and Sites’ (UNESCO,
1962). This Recommendation/Code was adopted in 1962 before many small
islands had gained their independence and joined UNESCO,
which probably accounts for the lack of awareness about this Recommendation/Code,
at least in small island states.
Recommendation/Code recognizes the scientific and aesthetic value of landscapes
and sites, and acknowledges that they form a heritage, which is a major factor
in the living conditions of the general public. The Code calls for the
implementation of protective measures to safeguard landscapes and sites,
including special provisions in: urban and regional development plans, zoning,
acquisition of sites by communities, creation and maintenance of natural
reserves and national parks. Furthermore, it emphasizes the need for formal and
informal education in order to awaken the public’s respect for its heritage
and to catalyse the public’s involvement in protecting that heritage. This
model addresses cultural and practical issues and draws attention to the
intangible aspects of coastal regions.
and different type of code is the ‘St George’s Declaration of Principles for
Environmental Sustainability in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States’
(OECS, 2000).The St
George’s Declaration was endorsed in November 2000, and signed by the majority
of the Member States in April 2001. It recognizes that environmentally
sustainable development is essential for the creation of jobs, a stable society,
a healthy economy and the natural systems on which this depends. The Declaration
consists of 21 principles ranging from poverty reduction to integrated disaster
management, and from civil society and private sector participation in
decision-making to the implementation of international environmental agreements.
The governments of the OECS
have adopted these principles and expressed their commitment to provide the
resources required for their implementation.
of ethics may also be directed towards specific groups of persons, e.g. ‘The
International Federation of Landscape Architects Code of Ethics’ (IFLA,
2000). This code, which was adopted on 28 September 2000, recognizes
certain ethical standards towards society and clients, to professional colleagues,
and to the landscape and environment. In its commitments to society and clients,
it seeks to promote the highest standard of professional service and to undertake
public service to improve environmental systems. Within the context of professional
colleagues, it advocates, among other things, to ensure that local culture,
place and regulation are recognized by working with a local colleague when undertaking
work in a foreign country. The section dealing with landscape and environment
emphasizes the use of materials, products and processes, which exemplify the
principles of sustainable management and landscape regeneration.
are examples of three different ethical codes of practice, which have been
prepared to advocate and pursue high standards and to clarify expectations,
rather than as a basis for undertaking disciplinary action.
the workshop the participants visited the site of a large coral farm, run by
Applied Marine Technology Ltd., at Portsmouth, Dominica. They then discussed
their observations in light of ethical considerations.
Marine Technologies Ltd. Coral Farm, Portsmouth, Dominica
The coral farm in
Dominica is a fairly large operation which opened in 1999. Forty species of
corals from Dominica and Indonesia are propagated in large tanks. Nets over the
tanks are used to simulate different depths in the water column. There is an
intake pipe from the sea to the farm and the seawater is purified as it enters
the farm. A cement sluiceway takes the water back to the ocean.
every one coral fragment removed from the offshore zone in Dominica, three are
replaced. According to the company personnel, follow-up surveys of the replaced
coral have shown only a 3% mortality rate. The corals from Indonesia are not
transplanted to Dominica. The company is promoting an ‘Adopt-a-Coral Programme’
for tourists and visitors who, for a fee (US$ 65), can adopt a propagated coral.
However, this programme has not yet received approval from the government of
from the farm have been used in reef reconstruction in Endeavour Bay, in
Mustique, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and negotiations are underway for a
similar project in Negril in Jamaica.
corals from the farm are exported to the USA for use in the pharmaceutical
industry and for bone reconstruction. The company personnel emphasized that only
dead corals were used for this purpose.
workshop participants, while recognizing that they did not know all the facts
concerning this operation, and based only on their field visit to the site,
identified the following ethical concerns regarding the coral farm:
represented by its government, has ownership of its biodiversity, a portion
of which is apparently being exported. Questions were raised as to whether
the public had full knowledge of this operation and whether they were
operation involves trade in endangered and fragile species, which are the
subject of regional and international conventions such as The
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and
Flora (CITES, 1973).
operation also needed to be considered in terms of bio-prospecting for
pharmaceuticals, and the intellectual property rights of indigenous peoples.
It is known that such bio-prospecting is going on in other countries around
Dominica is a volcanic island with few coral reefs, the question was raised
whether it was ethical to harvest this limited resource.
was concern about who was benefiting from the operation, since it did not
appear that the country was receiving many benefits, and there was a lack of
transparency about the operation.
that mariculture operations can be beneficial, the participants made several
suggestions which would ensure that an operation such as a coral farm could
better meet ethical concerns in the future. These included the following:
needs to be a clear structured mechanism for issuing such permits which
would include provisions for sustainable extraction; compliance monitoring
(including the designation of a suitable team to undertake the monitoring);
local employment at all levels of the operation, including management;
royalties and benefit sharing. Reference was made to coral rehabilitation
centres in Palau where limited permits are issued, employees and owners have
to be from Palau, and only local residents can obtain collecting permits.
also has to be stakeholder consultation and input prior to the issuance of
such permits, and it was recognized that this could be very time-consuming.
Such consultation will help to ensure transparency and benefit sharing.
need for politicians to involve their own local technicians and
professionals in evaluating proposals for such operations was strongly
There may be a need to elicit the assistance of regional scientific research institutes to help assess such projects and the validity of the scientific assumptions contained in their proposals. Institutes suggested in the Caribbean region included the Caribbean Environmental Health Institute (St Lucia), the Institute of Marine Affairs (Trinidad and Tobago), and the University of the West Indies (Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago).
of the ethical dimension in the debate on coastal stewardship was a new subject
area for many of the workshop participants. However, it was one of intense interest,
which generated heated debate. One further avenue through which to further the
discussion on the ethics of coastal stewardship is through the Wise
Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development forum where it could
be adopted as a key theme (user name: csi, and password: wise).